Alec Baldwin has posted on Instagram a public note from the crew of Rust who “believe the public narrative surrounding our workplace tragedy to be inadequate and wish to express a more accurate account of our experience.”
“This letter is written on behalf of the cast and crew of the film production, Rust. It has not been sanctioned or influenced in any way by the producers,” declares the note signed by 25 crew members from the production’s Accounting, Assistant Directors, Casting, Camera, Art, Props, Special Effects, Electrics, Grips, Costumes, Hair, Makeup, Sound, Locations, Medics, Animal Wranglers, Health and Safety, Transportation, Craft Services, Catering, Stunts, Construction and Production departments.
“The descriptions of Rust as a chaotic, dangerous and exploitative workplace are false and distract from what matters the most: the memory of (DP) Halyna Hutchins, and the need to find modern alternatives to outdated industry firearm and safety practices,” the note continues.
Deadline hears, but has not confirmed that this note was also sent to IATSE and the New Mexico Film Commission.
Deadline understands that the public letter was spearheaded by Rust costume designer Terese Magpale Davis who posted a lengthy October 30 Facebook defense of the making of the indie Western; that post also reposted by Baldwin on his Instagram. In that post, Davis attacked the camera crew members who resigned over safety and financial issues mere hours before the “cold gun” was discharged by Baldwin, killing Rust DP Halyna Hutchins and injuring Joel Souza. Davis called those deserting crew members “not heroes” and “jerks,” while praising Rust’s producers as “some of the most approachable and warm I have ever worked with.”
“Unfortunately, in the film industry, it is common to work on unprofessional or hectic productions to gain experience and credits. Many of us have worked on those types of productions. Rust was not one of them. Rust was professional. We do acknowledge that no set is perfect, and like any production, Rust had areas of brilliance and areas that were more challenging. While we stand firmly with our unions and strongly support the fight for better working conditions across our industry, we do not feel that this set was a representation of the kind of conditions our unions are fighting against,” reads today’s letter.
The group asserts that working morale “was high. Laughter and optimism were common amongst cast and crew…”. Some would disagree: Rust gaffer Serge Svetnoy, and script supervisor Mamie Mitchell have filed lawsuits against the production over an unsafe workplace.
“Alec Baldwin intentionally, without just cause or excuse, cocked and fired the loaded gun even though the upcoming scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking and firing of the firearm,” read Mitchell’s Nov. 17 legal complaint on claims of assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress (read it here). “Mr. Baldwin chose to play Russian Roulette with a loaded gun without checking it and without having the armorer do so.”
Below is the full note posted in two parts on Alec Baldwin’s Instagram.
“Halyna’s work ethic was inspiring and we were working to our highest ability to support her vision,” write the crew, “The days were scheduled tightly, but appropriately. We were keeping pace, not falling behind.”
“In the meantime, we are supporting each other and cooperating with investigators. We kindly request that your speculation and generalizations about us and our colleagues be sympathetic until an investigation is concluded. We are grateful to our many friends and family that have reached out to us privately to offer compassion and support,” the note concludes.
Baldwin’s Instagram post this morning comes a week after ABC aired their sitdown between the Oscar nominated actor and George Stephanopoulos. In that emotional interview, Baldwin made the shocking claim that he “did not pull the trigger” of the gun that killed Hutchins and said he “had no idea” how a live bullet made its way onto the set. Following that interview, Baldwin deleted his Twitter account.
Alec Baldwin told Stephanopoulos that he’s “highly unlikely” to face criminal charges over the fatal shooting of Hutchins, but the Santa Fe District Attorney hasn’t ruled out the option. Meanwhile, the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office investigation into what went sideways continues.
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